Spreading the word of excellence and professionalism in game angling instruction; The Game Angling Instructors Association (GAIA) held its annual spring meeting on the Tweedswood beat of the river Tweed near Melrose in the Scottish Borders.

The event was run from the 12th to the 14th of March 2010 and was a mixture of assessments, mentoring sessions and some very interesting personal professional development workshops.

There were 18 assessments undertaken over the course of the day with 10 achieving the necessary standard this time round. The successful candidates were:

APGAI (Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor) single handed; Alun Rees

GAIC (Game Angling Instructors Certificate) single handed; Mike Lonsdale, Richard Jacques, Raymond Morris and Scott Loudon
GAIC double handed; John Symonds, Dudley Hosfield

Re-certifications (ie: qualified instructors undergoing a re-certification in the new syllabi) were also take by: 

APGAI single handed; Alberto Laidlaw, Brian McGlashan

 And our vice-chairman, Philip Pledger, was re-certified (no comments please) in single handed techniques. 

Louis Noble, Chair of Assessors, said “The very high standard exhibited by successful candidates when they step forward for assessment is a testament to the hard work GAIA has undertaken over the past few years developing its mentoring system”. Well done to all that passed.

Mentoring sessions were held by both Mark Roberts and Louis Noble, in both double handed and single handed techniques respectively. These sessions were used to introduce prospective instructors to the syllabi. There was also an excellent opportunity for the assessors-in-training to undergo mentored practice in assessing would-be coaches. This developmental attitude is essential for the future of our sport; in the words of our Chairman, Philip White, “It is important that GAIA has continued growth and having new blood in the assessment team is absolutely paramount in driving this growth”. 

Throughout the day some fantastic workshops were held.  Andrew Toft captivated us all with his Fulcrum Fly Casting Technique which led smoothly into a demo by Peter Anderson, the Godfather of modern speycasting, showing us how to keep it simple. There were also informative demos given by Ronnie Glass, the Scottish rivers champion, on grayling fishing as well as a very informative session run on salmon fishing by Garry Scott. Kenny Gault of the Tweed Foundation was also there with an interactive session on the bug life of the Tweed. There was also a chance to brush up on fly dressing skills and have a look at the latest styles and materials with Wendy Gibson and Peter MCCallum who spent the day showing us the art of fly tying. The day was rounded off by Raymond Morris with a very informative presentation on customer service.

GAIA next big meeting will be at Caer Beris Manor hotel in autumn 2010 as ever this event will be open to members of the general public as well as GAIA members.